Accounting for the “Down Syndrome Advantage”

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Impact Factor: 2.08). 01/2011; 116(1):3-15. DOI: 10.1352/1944-7558-116.1.3
Source: PubMed


The authors examined factors that could explain the higher levels of psychosocial well being observed in past research in mothers of individuals with Down syndrome compared with mothers of individuals with other types of intellectual disabilities. The authors studied 155 mothers of adults with Down syndrome, contrasting factors that might validly account for the ?Down syndrome advantage? (behavioral phenotype) with those that have been portrayed in past research as artifactual (maternal age, social supports). The behavioral phenotype predicted less pessimism, more life satisfaction, and a better quality of the mother?child relationship. However, younger maternal age and fewer social supports, as well as the behavioral phenotype, predicted higher levels of caregiving burden. Implications for future research on families of individuals with Down syndrome are discussed.

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    • "Fathers are more pessimistic about the future and less likely to use coping strategies to reduce stress than mothers ( Essex , Seltzer , & Krauss , 1999 ) . Among mothers of adults with Down syndrome , maternal age at time of birth influenced caregiver burden with an older maternal age being associated with less burden ( Esbensen & Seltzer , 2011 ) . Caregivers less than 55 years of age were found to experience more burden than caregivers older than 55 years of age ( Hayden & Heller , 1997 ) . "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the U.S. predominantly live with their family caregivers. As care delivery and support systems vary widely globally, consideration of caregiver outcomes specifically in the U.S. context is needed. A systematic literature review was conducted to identify U.S. family caregiver outcomes and their association with existing services and supports for family caregivers of adults with IDD. Twenty-four articles were compiled using the PubMed, Web of Knowledge, PsychInfo, and CINAHL databases. Studies report economic, mental, and physical health outcomes from caregiving roles. The need for comprehensive caregiver assessment is discussed. Understanding and responding to the changing needs of family caregivers is vital to the U.S. disability service system to effectively prioritize formal resources and services.
    Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 04/2014; 52(2):147-59. DOI:10.1352/1934-9556-52.2.147 · 1.13 Impact Factor
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    • "This finding was true despite the fact that some of the children with more optimistic parents initially had more severe deficits and behavior problems (Durand, Hieneman, Clarke, & Zona, 2009). Research with families having a child with Down's syndrome replicated this observation (Esbensen & Seltzer, 2011). It appears that parental optimism may serve as a protective factor for these children and parental pessimism may put a child more at risk of developing severe behavior problems at a later date. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study was a multisite randomized clinical trial assessing the effects of adding a cognitive-behavioral intervention to positive behavior support (PBS). Fifty-four families who met the criteria of (a) having a child with a developmental disability, (b) whose child displayed serious challenging behavior (e.g., aggression, self-injury, tantrums), and (c) who scored high on a measure of parental pessimism were randomly assigned to either PBS intervention or a combination of PBS and optimism training for parents (positive family intervention [PFI]). A manualized approach to both interventions was used for eight weekly individual sessions. Both groups improved in scores of parental pessimism as well as on standardized measures and direct observations of child challenging behavior. The PFI intervention resulted in significantly improved scores on the General Maladaptive Index of the Scales of Independent Behavior–Revised when compared with the PBS alone group. No differences in attrition were observed across the two different approaches. Importantly, significant improvements in child behavior at home were achieved through a clinic-based approach. Implications for working with families who may be less likely to benefit from parent training are discussed.
    Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions 07/2013; 15(3):133-143. DOI:10.1177/1098300712458324 · 1.69 Impact Factor
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    • "The large effect may be reflective of what researchers have termed the ''Down syndrome advantage'', which highlights the behavioral phenotype of Down syndrome as being more social and associated with fewer behavioral challenges (Esbensen and Seltzer 2011; Seltzer et al. 2004). When looking at the individual results of the other disability categories, there is more variability. "
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    ABSTRACT: Researchers commonly report that families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience more parenting stress than families of typically developing (TD) children or those diagnosed with other disabilities [e.g., Down syndrome (DS), cerebral palsy, intellectual disability]. The authors reexamined the research using comparison groups to investigate parenting stress and conducted a meta-analysis to pool results across studies. The experience of stress in families of children with ASD versus families of TD children resulted in a large effect size. Comparisons between families of children of ASD and families with other disabilities also generated a large effect size however, this result should be interpreted with caution as it may be associated with the specific experience of parenting a child with DS.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 07/2012; 10(3). DOI:10.1007/s10803-012-1604-y · 3.06 Impact Factor
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